Laptop may have been disposed

  ajm 03:23 09 Apr 2010

A friend of mine asked me to take his laptop to a repair shop sometimes in middle of October 2009. My friend's mobile number was given to the repair shop so that they could call him once the repair was finished. They were also give a postal address.

A couple of days ago, I met my friend and just enquired if the laptop was repaired. He had completely forgotten about it as he had been very busy since then. He also mentioned that he doesnt recall being given a call by the repair shop.

Having looked into the paperwork give by the repair shop at the time of booking, it says that "Lost items will not be compenstated. Items not picked up within 60 days will be considered to be abandoned and therefor will be erased and disposed"

I am planning to go to the repair shop to hand in one of my client's laptop and will enquire about my friend laptop in the hope that it may still be there.

Question : does the repair shop have the right to have had disposed of the the item after the 60 days?

  Forum Editor 07:27 09 Apr 2010

is that the shop has the right to dispose of uncollected goods under the terms of the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977.

The longer answer is that before it may legally do so it must follow a certain procedure.

1. The trader must first give you notice stating that the goods are ready for collection. The notice must include the following information:-
a) The name and address of the shop b)A description of the goods c) A statement saying that the goods are ready for collection d)The address from where the goods can be collected e)the amount owing.

2. If you do not collect your goods the shop must send you a further statement (by recorded or registered post)informing you that it intends to sell or otherwise dispose of your goods. This statement must include all the information in the first statement, plus the intended date of sale or disposal.

3. If you still don't collect the goods the sale may proceed, but only after a 'reasonable' (that word again) time. In practice the period must be long enough for you to collect the goods, but if a payment is due then the period between the second letter and the sale must not be less than three months.

If the trader does sell your goods you are entitled by law to claim the proceeds of the sale, less any costs, such as advertising the goods for sale. If the trader sells your goods without following the procedure I've outlined you may have a case for claiming compensation, but be warned that it can be very difficult to fight such a case.

In your situation it looks as if your friend may be able to claim the proceeds, as the trader may not have followed the legal steps required. It will hinge around whether a written notice was sent to the postal address provided, and the trader should be able to produce evidence of this if it was done.

Some traders - shoe repairers for instance - would find it economically unworkable to follow the procedure I've outlined. The cost of a shoe repair might be relatively small, compared to the administrative costs involved in complying, and I'm inclined to think that a court would think it reasonable that a 60-day notice was given to everyone leaving shoes for repair. Whether or not this would apply to a laptop is doubtful, and I would think it might be worth your friend's while to push the retailer quite hard about it.

As always, it's his/her decision - I've simply outlined the legal situation.

  spuds 16:26 09 Apr 2010

Perhaps to follow on from the FE, there is another point of law which I believe goes under the title of something like 'A Plunder'. I used this many years ago, and have now forgotten the exact wording, but this particular law still applies in England and possibly elsewhere.

This is seldom used, but it still is available. Basically if an item doesn't belong to you (as in the case of the repairer), then you can claim storage fees for as long as the item is in 'storage'. The owner must be notified of this intent. In theory or practice, storage fees can account for many thousands of pounds, and a item like a laptop would take up very limited space.

  ajm 19:34 09 Apr 2010

Thank you all for your response.

When the laptop was booked in, I used my address but my friend's mobile number in the event if the repairers contacted him, he would have informed me and I would have collected on his behalf.

Nothing in the post came informing me about the laptop being disposed of, so I therefore assume that it is still there and will see the laptop repairer soon.

  Colin 14:58 10 Apr 2010

wiz-king I thought that as well. Being flippant, if this person is so absent minded maybe they have had it back and forgotten they have?

ajm - I don't mean this to sound critical at all and look forward to what you find when you contact the repairer.

  ajm 18:27 12 Apr 2010

Last week Friday I had to take another laptop of a clients to be repaired at the same shop and asked about collecting the old one. Was told to come back on Monday.

Today, Monday, went there and the laptop was there ready for collection and duly paid the amounts due.

Thanks all of you who provided valuable advise, especially to the FE for his detailed explaination.

  canarieslover 19:17 12 Apr 2010

I'm amazed! Was that a "Comeback Monday because we haven't repaired it yet"? I would have thought six months was time enough to sort it out.

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